By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Sydney Roosters V Melbourne Storm – Sydney Cricket Ground – 21.50NZT
These battles are always tough. Two of the best teams over the last few years lock horns once again.
Both with key injuries, but still enough talented players on the field to add some spice to this game.
The Roosters have been getting the job done in a way where they’re having to work, and the Storm are getting more convincing results.
Hard to separate these two sides really, it’ll be a thriller.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
FRIDAY: New Zealand Warriors V Penrith Panthers – Central Coast Stadium – 20.00NZT
The Warriors have been punching in to the face of adversity but this is the biggest test for their resilience.
The Panthers have been the form side without a doubt, and easily disposed of the Warriors in round four.
For Penrith, it’ll just be business as usual. They’ve been winning despite how the games played out.
Warriors just have to continue to work as a unit, and do their best to unsettle Penrith.
TIP: Panthers 1-12
Parramatta Eels V Saint George Illawarra Dragons – Bankwest Stadium – 21.55NZT
Parramatta have been doing it tough of late, but still getting the W’s on the board. Sign of a good team.
The Dragons have been competitive, but have been in and out of games all year. Struggling to play for a full eighty.
That will punish them if Parramatta are on, and the Eels are due for a good performance.
TIP: Eels 1-12
SATURDAY: Cronulla Sharks V Gold Coast Titans – Netstrata Jubilee Stadium – 17.00NZT
The Titans put together their best performance of the last couple of seasons last week, and they will be up for the Sharks match.
Cronulla have been putting it together of late, but it was goal kicking that cost them the win last week.
It’s great ruck speed from the Sharks who are getting on the front foot, so the Titans markers will have to be fit and fighting.
Could really go either way this one.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
North Queensland Cowboys V South Sydney Rabbitohs – Queensland Country Bank Stadium – 19.30NZT
What I saw from the Cowboys last week was not good. Michael Morgan didn’t look ready to play. They lacked composure and they were a shell of themselves.
The Rabbitohs however are starting to click and make things work, as they continue to look likely to finish in the top eight.
Cowboys aren’t going to get the result in this match, so for their sake, I hope the Rabbitohs don’t do a number on them, because it’s likely they could.
TIP: Rabbitohs 13+
Canberra Raiders V Brisbane Broncos – GIO Stadium – 21.30NZT
The Raiders seem to have gelled over the last couple of weeks which is good timing on their part as we get closer to the business end of the season.
For Brisbane, things are going absolutely horribly.
Canberra should get this game, especially at GIO Stadium.
Broncos are a mess on and off the field, so where do you begin with them?
TIP: Raiders 13+
SUNDAY: Newcastle Knights V Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – McDonald Jones Stadium – 16.00NZT
Manly are struggling big time with injury concerns, but still have some players that will make an impact.
Newcastle looked very dangerous last week, and that’s with all their injury worries that’s been going on too.
Once Kalyn Ponga gets his hands on the ball, he’s a killer – so Manly have to kick the ball away from him.
Newcastle are starting to look a settled side, and if they can dominate the halves then they will get the victory.
TIP: Knights 1-12
Wests Tigers V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – Bankwest Stadium – 18.00NZT
Wests need to get back in the saddle, but they’ll come up against a spirited Bulldogs side who have shown more heart over the last few weeks than the Tigers.
Both sides are looking to get in to a groove a bit more.
The Tigers have to go back to basics, complete their sets, and kick well.
Bulldogs have to be more direct in their runs and plays.
Wests would be favourites to take this one away, but don’t write off the Doggies.
TIP: Tigers 1-12
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